Johnson County event raising money, awareness about heart defects - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Johnson County event raising money, awareness about heart defects

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -- The American Heart Association hopes to raise $135,000 for research and education of heart defects through the Start! Heart Walk in Johnson County this weekend.

The event will raise money, but also raise awareness by recognizing one North Liberty family dealing with a heart condition.

Three year-old Jordan Snyder was born with a heart murmur, but it wasn't until her first birthday that her mother Tracey found out why.

"She had a hole. It was called an AV transitional canal, which is a hole in the septum, that divides the right side and left side of your heart," Tracey Snyder explained.

Jordan went into open-heart surgery and doctors were able to repair her AV canal. But, she still has a heart murmur, due to a cleft mitral valve. While the condition isn't life-threatening and Jordan does not need medication, the condition does take its toll.

"There are times when you can tell when she gets tired easily," Tracey said. "When she gets sick it takes her a little bit longer to kick it."

But you'd never know that about Jordan by watching her play. She's just as active as her peers.

Still, Tracey says the family is honored that Jordan was picked to be the 2010 Start! Heart Walk child in Johnson County.

"It was an honor because she is not one of the most drastic of the heart defects. She has full function of her heart, and I think it's a way to show that there's a wide range of heart defects," Tracey said.

Jordan's surgeon says events like the heart walk are vital in raising awareness and money for ongoing research.

"With really dedicated, coordinated scientifically valid research, we have much more of a chance of improving the overall situation of patients," cardiothoracic surgeon James Davis said.

And even though only 1 in 100 newborns have congenital heart defects, Tracey recommends all parents check their newborn's heart before leaving the hospital.

Jordan goes back to the doctor in June for another check-up. Her parents hope they can eventually cut her visits down to once a year.

The Johnson County Start! Heart Walk will start at 8 a.m. on Saturday at the Lower City Park in Iowa City.

Dubuque will host a heart walk Saturday, May 1 and the Cedar Valley heart walk is May 15, at George Wyth State Park.

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